Easy Beef Pho

February 7, 2013

The world is built by dreamers, or so the movie Dinner for Schmucks says. Consequently, in every relationship there is one realist and one dreamer. It is all about balance. In my relationship, I am the dreamer.

On a weekly basis, I will try to convince Mike just to get up and buy plane tickets and go on vacation, whereas Mike will try and tell me if that is something I want, we should try and work it into the monthly budget and start saving for a trip. Ugh!

When it comes to food, I like to be daring, something new every night. I like my food to take me somewhere else, whereas Mike could eat Chipotle burritos or a burger every single day of his life.

Beware! Every once in a while, the realist says to you, “Hey! Let’s move to Spain! We could toooootally do that!” You should know that something is very definitely wrong and try to give him hot dogs to help ease him back to his so important realist role. That time is not the time for something new! Other wise, pack your bags! But beware, traveling and preparing to travel with a realist kinda takes the fun out of being a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants dreamer.

Recently, I made us beef pho for dinner. It was the first time either of us had ever had pho. If you are like us and never tried this dish before, let me tell you what pho is. Pho is Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Mmmmm, noodle soup.

It is pronounced fuh. Beef pho is called pho bo. The beef is traditionally sliced super thin and served raw. If that freaks you out like it did my realist husband, don’t worry. You can cook it ahead of time or just let it poach in the broth for a bit before eating it. If you have never had it before, you must try it. The glory of a good broth with a lot of noodles should never be underestimated; personally, I think you don’t even need the beef.

This is one pho-nomenenal meal. Even though Mike was a bit skeptical, I still saw him tip the bowl back to suck down all the broth. I may have made a dish for both realists and dreamers alike!

Easy Beef Pho

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6
Author Sarcastic Cooking


  • For the Broth:
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 Yellow Onions halved
  • 1, 3- inch Piece of Fresh Ginger halved
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Quarts Low-Sodium Beef Stock
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 Star Anise Pieces
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • 1/3 Cup Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • Note: If you do not want to invest in cinnamon sticks star anise, and cloves, some stores sell pho seasoning packs.
  • For the Pho:
  • 1, 12- Ounce Package of Bahn Pho or Udon Noodles Flat Rice Noodles
  • 1 Pound Flank Steak
  • 2 Thai Chiles stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 Handfuls Bean Sprouts
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Thai Basil or Genovese Basil or Cilantro
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Mint
  • ½ White Onion sliced paper thin
  • Sriracha or Chili Garlic Sauce for Serving
  • Lime Wedges for Serving


  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic when the oil just starts to simmer. Cook, turning a few times, for about ten minutes.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low. Simmer, partially covered, for at least fifty minutes and up to 3 hours if you like a richer flavor. After desired taste is reached, strain broth and add back to the pot. Note: If you are not serving the soup right away, you can store the strained broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
  3. Place the beef into the freezer for at least fifteen minutes.
  4. Bring the broth to a slow simmer over low heat. Add rice noodles and cook according to package directions.
  5. Once the noodles are cooked, remove pot from heat. Using a very sharp knife, slice the beef as thin as possible.
  6. Ladle some broth into a few deep bowls. Add noodles to bowls. Serve chiles, bean sprouts, herbs, onions, lime wedges, and beef on the side so each person can add in what they want to their pho.

Recipe adapted from Keys to the Kitchen Cookboook

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  • wcity
    January 26, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Just found this recipe, sounds easy, yet authentic. So it looks lovely. Sounds delicious … It’s been here for about 3 years, has anyone made it? I’d love to know. I’m going for it this week. Just need to find star anise pods …. hmmm

  • Homemade Beef Pho | Dispatches from the Castle
    November 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    […] warmth, we were sure we couldn’t make it in our own kitchen. We were so wrong. J found this recipe from Sarcastic Cooking (love!) and it was dead on. We adjusted a few things to our taste and […]

  • Margo, Thrift at Home
    March 4, 2013 at 8:46 am

    I’m married to a dreamer! But we try to mix it up sometimes 🙂

    We adore pho and have a fabulous neighborhood pho shop. However, I have never seen it with raw beef – perhaps the cooks consider that too ethnic or too daring for our little American city? They also put a squirt of hoisin sauce in the pho at the table. In any case, I would love to try making pho at home.

  • aida mollenkamp
    February 8, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Stefanie – So glad you liked this pho recipe from Keys To The Kitchen! By the way, I’m totally a dreamer too so I’m with you on that one!

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    February 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Next time Mike says, “Let’s move to Spain”, watch out, because I’m packing his bags for him and going with him. Just sayin’. 😛

    I’m really enjoying your “pho” puns. (I never knew it was pronounced ‘fuh’.) I have never had pho, but it makes for a very pretty bowl!

    • Stefanie
      February 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      I am very punny sometimes! Hahahah! How about we all move to Spain!?!?!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious
    February 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    It definitely looks pho-nomenal! Homemade pho has been on my bucket list for years – I really need to cross that off my list soon!

    • Stefanie
      February 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      You totally do! This is a huge recipe that is easy and lasts for a while.

  • Kari@Loaves n Dishes
    February 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Loving the seasonings in this broth; such a pretty bowl of soup!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog
    February 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    This looks so good, Stef! Yeah, I’m the dreamer and my hubs is the realist. I eat anything, and he eats meat and potatoes. I can’t wait to try this pho!

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    February 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I’m the dreamer too 😉 lol